Words Brad Harris | Photo: Romain Silvi
Deliluh are elusive and a little scary. They seem to exist in unconventional places, tucked away from music industrial complex. Over the years their name has appeared alongside a veterans’ club, an abandoned subway station, a self-run apartment studio and even a library. To say they jam econo is putting it lightly. Not ones to look back however, they have made the jump to Europe, decamping from their native Toronto, perhaps in pursuit of more left-field spaces to fill with their distinct blend of sonorous ambience, jerky art punk and countless adjacent stylings.
Like their choice of spaces, Deliluh songs are often populated by radical figures who tackle the world in anxious and uneasy ways. Latest single (or should that be double?) Amulet’s thief character acts purely out of spite with the status quo and the gluttony at the heart of it. A recent live video of the B-side version of the track effectively showcases the menace they convey to full effect. Kyle Knapp paces around like an alternate Willy Loman, pushed to his breaking point but unable to create a fantasy world for himself to exist in. It conjures up ideas of a restrained 80’s era Swans or Nick Cave’s Stagger Lee on a quiet night.
Ahead of their show at the Waiting Room in London – as part of their summer European tour – I asked a few questions about past, present and future endeavours.
So, first of all, the inevitable question. Why Europe?
Kyle: “There’s less driving between shows. Also, the wine and cheese are better and less expensive.”
Amulet, like some of your other work, features a character who by all accounts is not the nicest person. What draws you to anti-heroes?
K: “Generally, I try to write characters who force us to grapple and question our own moral stance on things. The thief in ‘Amulet’ doesn’t crave wealth or a gangster lifestyle. He’s fed up with societal greed and is seeing how far he can go to rattle the cage.”
You spoke about the journey being more meaningful than any endpoint when creating. What’s your relationship with failure?
J: “I don’t believe in failure when it comes to creativity. It is supposed to be a process where you constantly grow and evolve. So the fact that I can look back at past creations and feel different about them than when they were originally created, means that I have learned from those experiences. When you continue to push your limits, you will inevitably discover new ways of approaching your craft.”
I love how the A side of Amulet exists in a sort of stillness whilst the B side is a much more energetic affair. It’s almost as if you are tuning out of the attention economy and then suddenly you are back in it again. What was the process like behind both of these?
K: “Both versions of ‘Amulet’ came from workshopping a guitar riff that we turned into a synth sequence. We found we could explore the idea from a lot of angles, so it felt natural to chase the song down different rabbit holes. The sequence worked well at both speeds, when given the proper treatment, and we tried to go at them both with a minimal approach.”
You mentioned that Amulet B is the product of the current two-piece line-up. Has lockdown forced you adopt any new practices to deal with things?
J: “Up until lockdown we had always lived together. But during lockdown we were separated in two different parts of Europe. From a practical standpoint, it means we’ve been doing a lot of self-prescribed residencies, working together for long and thorough blocks of time. It’s been a new way of approaching our working methods and has impacted the material we’ve written recently.”
Has the past had an impact on your new work? Do you ever go back and listen to your previous releases?
K: “We don’t get caught up in the past when working on stuff. We’re very much chasing whatever ideas or inspirations we have in the present and trying our best to follow through to the finish line.”
Your press release calls Amulet B a dance track. Have clubs and/ or the recent lack of them had an impact on your work at all?
J: “We both appreciate clubbing culture, but it hasn’t had a conscious inclusion in our music. Early electronic music has always been a big influence for us, which has more to do with how ‘Amulet B’ came about.”
What’s your favourite emoji?
Catch Deliluh at The Waiting Room, London tonight (August 25th).